From the Worldwide Faith News archives

GAC endorses $40 million mission campaign

Date 14 Jun 2002 11:49:35 -0400

Note #7210 from PCUSA NEWS to PRESBYNEWS:


GAC endorses $40 million mission campaign

Council members, GAC leaders among first to make pledges of support

by Alexa Smith

COLUMBUS, OH - The General Assembly Council (GAC) voted unanimously June 13 to recommend going ahead with the first phase of a major campaign to raise money for international mission personnel and new-church development, especially in racial-ethnic communities.
The GAC will ask the 214th General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA) to endorse the $40 million Mission Initiative.

John Detterick, the council's executive director, said campaign planners have met the five conditions the GAC imposed when it discussed the proposed fund-raising campaign during its January meeting, among them the naming of two campaign co-chairs.

"We've spent a great deal of time on it," Detterick said of planning for the campaign. He had told the GAC's executive committee that he gets "more and more excited, the more time I spend on it."

He said the staff leadership team has completed a case statement, including line items specifying how the funds will be used; enlisted GAC members to identify potential major donors; obtained pledges from 68 of 72 council members; created a staffing plan for campaign administration.

Two Presbyterian elders will direct the campaign: Lucimarian Roberts of Biloxi, MS, and Bill Saul of Long Beach, CA.

Roberts, a member of First Presbyterian Church of St. Louis, MS, has served on the Permanent Judicial Commission of the Presbytery of Mississippi and the national Self-Development of People Committee, and on the board of the Presbyterian Investment and Loan Program. She is a former trustee of Columbia Theological Seminary in Decatur, GA, and a former chairman of the New Orleans branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.

Saul was chair of the Committee on Local Arrangements for the 2000 General Assembly in Long Beach. He is a former moderator of the Synod of Southern California and Hawaii and of the Presbytery of Los Ranchos, and has served on numerous synod and presbytery committees and special task forces. He is a trustee of San Francisco Theological Seminary, for which he has been active in several stewardship and capital campaigns.

The Mission Initiative steering committee will be composed of Detterick, the president of the Presbyterian Foundation, the elected chairs of the Worldwide Ministries and National Ministries divisions, the division directors and 15 at-large members.

Detterick said virtually all the council members have made pledges to the campaign, as have members of the GAC staff leadership team.

Moreover, the staff members who belong to the steering committee have set aside time to devote to the campaign.

The three-page case statement Detterick presented to the council emphasized that, while "much is being done" already in global mission and new-church development, there is much more to do.

"Without new funds, we will no longer be able to support our current level of international mission personnel," it says. "Mission personnel incarnate the Gospel as they engage with partner churches in God's mission in the world."

"Without new funds," it continues, "we will not be able to reverse the trend of annual net losses in our denomination's membership, nor will we be in a position to meet the opportunities to grow churches in areas of increased racial-ethnic and immigrant populations. In the last 40 years, no new endowments for new church development and redevelopment have been established. While primary responsibility for church development resides with the presbyteries, the national church has the responsibility to ensure that vital church-wide resources are developed and shared throughout the whole nation."

According to the case statement, the campaign's goal for grants to presbyteries for church growth  is $12 million, with $8.1 million for new-church developments in racial-ethnic, immigrant and Gen-X communities.

Two and one-half million dollars will be set aside to support church redevelopment in existing congregations. Other specialized grants also will be available.

The goal is to raise $6.5 million for property acquisition, construction and expansion. An additional $9.4 million will be used to support the 600 mission workers already in the field, and $11.5 million will fund new mission personnel, including three disaster-response trainers, five teachers of English and 94 international volunteers.

Detterick said he hopes the campaign will establish long-term relationships between the PC(USA) and donors who are passionate about mission work.
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